Welch-Dickey, late October

Welch Mountain, taken from Dickey Mountain

Welch Mountain, taken from Dickey Mountain

I don’t know when I’ve had a more fun year of hiking. I might say that every year, but I really mean it.

Last weekend, I headed with a friend to the loop trail over Welch and Dickey mountains (elev. 2605 and 2734), a short distance from Waterville Valley. This is a well-traveled trail, mentioned in guidebooks as being great for families. I tried to imagine how crowded the parking lot must be on summer weekends. This is fall, though; the leaves are past peak and the morning temps are in the thirties or lower.  There were only three other cars in the lot Saturday morning, assuring us a crowd-free day.

My companion for the day was friend and neighbor Lenette. Despite umpteen operations on her knees, she’s indefatigable, and a great deal  more fit than I am. She refused to be discouraged by my slow pace and overall wimpiness on hills. We had a great time. It took us about four hours to complete the hike, on a day with a trace of flurries in the air on the summit ledges.

Welch-Dickey trailhead

Welch-Dickey trailhead

I leave a detailed trail description to the guidebooks that are out there. Lenette had an AMC book with a description of Welch-Dickey, while I had Daniel Doan’s Fifty Hikes in the White MountainsThe trailhead is in White Mountain National Forest, and there’s an iron ranger in the parking lot to receive the modest day-pass fee. There’s a very clean pit toilet there, too, which is always a plus.

We agree with the books: don’t do this one on a rainy day. There’s lots of smooth sloping ledge that would get very slick very quickly. That wasn’t a problem last weekend. We had good weather, dry except for those flurries, with cool but not bitter temperatures.

I carried a map, but the trail is well-blazed and well-beaten, so I didn’t use it. I probably should have brought it out on the summits when I took pictures, just so I could identify what I was photographing. Alas, all I have are shots of pretty views. If readers can tell me what some of those views include, I’ll be much obliged.

Oops ...

Oops …

Good as new, I hope!

Good as new, I hope!

About the pictures of me with a pile of rocks: when we got to the top of Dickey, I asked Lenette to take a picture of me next to the summit cairn. I took hold of the big stick in the middle of the cairn, thinking that would make a nice pose. Serves me right for posing: the stick was very precariously arranged amidst the rocks of the cairn, and as soon as I touched it, it fell over along with about a dozen of the rocks. I was mortified – and of course Lenette kept snapping away! We moved along laughing as soon as I’d repaired the mess I’d made.

A dusting of late October snow near the summit of Dickey.

A dusting of late October snow near the summit of Dickey. That’s my patient hiking buddy Lenette in the background.

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